Parents protest McGuire's appointment as Sullivan County Attorney

By FRITZ MAYER
Posted 5/7/20

A handful of parents turned out in front of the government center in Monticello on May 6 to protest Judge Michael McGuire's appointment to become the next Sullivan County Attorney.

On March 26, …

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Parents protest McGuire's appointment as Sullivan County Attorney

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MONTICELLO, NY — A handful of parents turned out in front of the government center in Monticello on May 6 to protest Judge Michael McGuire's appointment to become the next Sullivan County Attorney.

On March 26, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJD) recommended removing McGuire from the bench for a number of indiscretions. 

One of the protesters was Christine Horne, the mother of Anthony Motta Jr., who won a jury award of $1 million from the Eldred Central School District in 2017 because the jury found the school did not do enough to protect Motta Jr. from being bullied. The case was overturned on a technicality, but the district settled with Motta in September 2019 in what was described as a significant settlement. 

When the bullying was taking place, Horne said Motta went to McGuire to seek protection from the students who were bullying him. According to Horne, McGuire ordered Motta to return to school. He went for a couple of days, but according to Horne, he could not stay because his bullies were still in the school.

Horne said McGuire ordered her son into a psychiatric facility for 30 days for observation. A court official said McGuire is not free to talk about cases he was involved in, and he did not respond to a request for comment. The New York State Court of Appeals is reviewing the case and placed McGuire on paid leave on April 30.

Cliff Erickson was another one of the protesters. His daughter, Jessica, appeared before McGuire in a family court dispute; they both have a long list of grievances against McGuire and the family court system in general. Cliff was angered enough by the experience that he started the Sullivan County New York Family Court Support Group on Facebook.

In March, SCJD Administrator Robert Tembeckjian said the following about McGuire: “The breadth of Judge McGuire’s misconduct is stunning. He wrongfully ordered people to jail and handcuffed family court litigants; often berated and yelled at court staff and litigants; presided in matters despite having a disqualifying conflict; impermissibly practiced law and used court staff to assist him; and otherwise misused court staff. He compounded it all with untruthful testimony during the commission’s proceedings."

Sullivan County Communications Director Dan Hust said that McGuire has not yet stepped into his role as county attorney because of personal reasons. While on paid leave, McGuire is still collecting a check from the state. Hust said when he takes the county attorney position, he does not intend to collect checks from both positions.

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